Developing Our Area’s Talent
Ensuring Opportunities for All
Local businesses grow and prosper when their people have the right skills. We offer a range of training solutions to empower your workforce, including:
- Customized training programs
- High-quality microcredentials
- Convenient diplomas, certificates & degrees
Customized Training in Action: Tyson Foods
In spring 2016, managers at Tyson Foods faced a labor shortage.
They were unable to find skilled industrial maintenance technicians, the vital workers who keep the plant going.
Company officials reached out to EICC for help. College officials proposed upskilling the company’s current employees with a customized training program.
A nine-month, 580-hour training program was launched later that year. Now in its sixth year, the program — administered at Muscatine’s Columbus Junction Center — takes Tyson’s unskilled workers and trains them in industrial maintenance technology.
Workers go to class in the mornings and work at the plant in the afternoons. They agree to work for Tyson for two years and earn wages that are more than double the average per capita income for their areas.
Tyson officials said they’re thrilled with the success of their customized training program, noting they’ve been able to build a skilled workforce consisting of local employees.
The program boasts high graduation rates. Plus, employees are eligible for promotions and higher pay upon completion.
The company also supports EICC’s programs that improve the local workforce. Tyson donates $15,000 a year to EICC’s workforce training efforts. In 2020, they donated several pieces of hydraulic and mechanical training equipment.
“We are proud to have invested with EICC, in funding and equipment, to drive technical education,” said Brent McElroy, a local Tyson plant manager.
Customized Training in Action: Sterilite
In 2016, officials from Sterilite, the largest plastic housewares manufacturer in North America, decided to open a new production facility in Davenport, Iowa.
They bought the land and started work on the facility, which would eventually house up to 500 employees. Their recently hired plant manager was given the monumental task of recruiting workers capable of tasks ranging from human resources to plastics injection.
Such an undertaking requires a lot of training — and quick thinking. The plant manager, Richard Klim, turned to EICC, and its knowledge of state-funded training programs, for help.
EICC consulted with Klim about the state’s job training programs, which are administered through the community college districts. This conversation was the beginning of a “unique” and “cool” relationship, said Jim Brattvet, EICC economic development director.
“We were a major support system — and still are,” Brattvet said.
The district helped train Klim’s new employees by first building a smaller version of the plant’s plastic injection machine at the EICC Blong Technology Center. Brattvet and his co-workers organized a training schedule for Sterilite’s newly hired employees, and the training process began.
Additional training classes were later added. Now, Sterilite’s new hires complete a variety of classes, such as online plastics training and forklift operation, at the technology center.
Sterilite’s Davenport startup process ramped up, and the plant opened in 2018.
“The college district’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to our training needs has been invaluable,” Klim said.
Both plant and college officials look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
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